Harry Styles isn't taking the departure of Zayn very well

Styles wiped away tears as the band performed the latest leg of their On The Road Again Tour
Styles wiped away tears as the band performed the latest leg of their On The Road Again Tour

Harry Styles appeared to break down in tears on stage as he apparently struggled to come to terms with Zayn Malik's sudden departure from boyband One Direction.

Styles wiped away tears as the band performed the latest leg of their On The Road Again Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia, just hours after the news of Malik's leaving broke.

Malik said he quit the world's biggest band as he wants the chance to be "a normal 22-year-old".

He left the world tour last week after being "signed off with stress" and returned to the UK after he was forced to defend himself online and declare his love for fiancee Perrie Edwards when pictures emerged of him apparently close to another woman.

The group said they would continue as a four-piece for the tour and record another album - their fifth - later this year.

Malik said: "My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.

"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world."

In a statement, the rest of the group said: "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future.

"The past five years have been beyond amazing - we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends.

"The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."

A spokesman for the band said Malik, who grew up in Bradford, is at home with his family and fiancee Edwards.

The news devastated millions of One Direction's fans around the world, and many took to social media to vent their feelings.

Simon Cowell, who discovered One Direction on talent show The X Factor, said: "I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction.

"Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond - and immensely proud - of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave.

"As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band."

Fellow X Factor judge Louis Walsh said he had heard rumours for a number of weeks that "everything wasn't happy in paradise".

He told RTE Radio One: "The problem with these guys is they've been in a bubble for the last five years, pressure, working, a lot harder than people think, so something had to give. So Zayn was the first person just to crack up a little bit."

He added: "He's had an amazing time with the other guys. That's the good side of it. The dark side of it is all the travelling, the airports, in a bubble, not really seeing real life.

"They burn out basically. The thing with One Direction is they were massive worldwide. They were going from continent to continent, right across America. Going from hotels to hotels, he probably didn't see light of day, he was just working, working, working.

"Now it's everybody's dream, everybody loves it but there's an awful lot of pressure with it too."

Talking about his experience with Westlife and other boybands, Walsh added: "What I found in the past is as things get on, and as they get girlfriends, the girlfriends are whispering things in their ears and saying like 'you should be a solo star', 'you should be the lead singer' - that's usually the problem.

"The first few years are usually great and then people always want to be the solo star."

Malik appeared in a leaked video last year smoking what appeared to be a joint while the group travelled in a van in South America.

He was also forced to explain his absence from promotional commitments after a US TV host questioned his bandmates about ''rumours of substance abuse''.

The band, who were put together after entering The X Factor as solo acts, have become millionaires on their way to being one of the biggest bands in the world.

Their latest album, Four, topped the US Billboard Top 200 chart making them the first group in history to debut at number one with their first four albums.

They have fans all over the world - their current tour takes in venues in countries including Indonesia and South Africa - and the video for their single, Best Song Ever, attracted almost 200 million views on YouTube.